November 1, 2010

Episode Review: CHUCK, "Chuck vs. the First Fight"

Many are calling "Chuck vs. the First Fight" the best Chuck of the season, and it's hard to argue with those claims because it had a little bit of everything and a guest spot by James Bond himself (Timothy Dalton). The show is still doing its best Alias imitation, but more on that later.

The story itself was very Momma B heavy as Chuck continued to prove to Team Bartowski that his mom was a good guy, and she led him to her MI-6 handler to help his case. Said handler ended up being Gregory Tuttle, brilliantly played by Timothy Dalton, who wasn't impressive from a spy standpoint but he brought the funny. While on their mission to clear Mary's name, Chuck and Tuttle are kidnapped by Volkoff's goons, and of course Team B had to save them. Mary agreed to help them find Chuck if they let her meet Ellie, and we got a wonderful moment between mother and daughter. Finally, we end up in a bank where Chuck and Tuttle picked up disks that would prove Mary's innocence, and this was where things got insane. We found out that Mary was playing them the entire time (right?), and that Tuttle was actually Volkoff. "First Fight" ended with the Intersect apparently being removed from Chuck's head, and Mary and Volkoff blowing up Orion's lifelong work. Sheer craziness.

While "First Fight" had a lot of cons and deception, it was also able to bring some humorous moments. Dalton was great as the mild-mannered Tuttle, and he was responsible for most of the laugh out loud moments, which made it even more shocking when he revealed himself to be Volkoff. He had me going hook, line, and sinker. Morgan also brought his A-game, and it was nice seeing him get some good moments with Sarah instead of with just Casey or Chuck.

"First Fight" also had some great action/fight scenes and for some reason it felt like these have been lacking this season. The fight Chuck had with Valkoff's flunkies mixed some good action with well-timed humor (tiny weapon standoff), but the big showdown in the bank was great and further proof that Chuck & Sarah are a great duo that could rival Sarah/Bryce. We definitely need more scenes of Chuck and Sarah fighting with baddies instead of with each other.

Speaking of lover's spats, I was expecting way more Suck drama than what the title implied, which was a nice change of pace. Sure, Chuck and Sarah had to deal with what happened at the end of "Aisle of Terror", and yes they were fighting, but at least this argument was legitimate instead of focusing on their insecurities. In typical Chuck fashion, their fight also had its share of funny moments (Friendster), and it watching them verbally spar with one another while physically sparring with others was a nice touch. I know that we're in store for some more rocky relationship storylines, but I hope the rest are as interesting as what we saw here instead of the other tedious moments.

The Momma B story arc continued down its path, which has become even more complicated than it was when we started because Mary changed allegiances at least five times, and we're still not quite sure which side she's one which is the point I suppose. While I've been vocal about my disappointment with the plotline, I do have to admit that it was able to suck me in tonight, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • It was great when Tuttle mentioned Alias since this season has been a straight rip-off, and it's always fun when a show can poke fun at itself.
  • '68 Mustang. Enough said.
  • I wasn't expecting to be so moved by Ellie and Mary's time together, but it was a nice bittersweet moment that was only highlighted by the fact that we didn't hear what they were saying.
  • Having Orion back (in voice over form) was a nice touch, and I'd like to see Bakula back in a flashback since he should remain dead. I do miss the character though.
All in all tonight's episode of Chuck was a strong outing. I still think "Couch Lock" was more fun, but I can respect "First Fight"'s importance from a big picture standpoint. Plus it has me warming up to the Marina Bartevko arc, which is win unto itself.


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